Updated: Jul 9, 2021
June felt like crawling out from under a rock. A bunch of events contributed to that, including the Summer Solstice, celebrated with gusto in Alaska, the opening of the Angstman cabin and many gatherings that had been put on hold for a year and a half. Anchorage has more than its share of good restaurants because of the tourist industry, and several of those needed a visit. All that made for a hectic month, topped off by a memorable wedding on the Kuskokwim River.
Richie Diehl and Emerie Fairbanks got married in Aniak, a small village about 85 air miles upriver from Bethel, and what an event it was. A large throng descended on the village, many arriving after a five hour boat ride from Bethel, and others by airplanes. Marginal weather kept everyone on edge, but in the end, very little rain fell until the day after the wedding. All events were outdoors, and it was all done rural Alaska style – which means lots of fun. Ron Kaiser conducted the wedding and kept the crowd laughing.
One theme of Ron's remarks was Richie's dog team. Richie’s racing team is known as Real Diehl Racing, and Ron advised the long time couple that practice was over, this was now the "Real Diehl," as the crowd hooted. He left out the obvious next line, which would have been “Let’s make a Diehl!” It turned out Ron was just the warm-up act for his son Pete, the best man.
Pete's best man speech featured a graphic account of a clogged toilet at the Kaiser home, caused by the groom, which eventually involved the whole family.
The entire wedding was held on the bank of the river, which in Aniak has a high dike to prevent flooding. A swath of trees was removed, and fill added to make this scene where the actual ceremony was held.
All available housing was utilized, and there were numerous tents pitched as well. Like all rural Alaska events involving free food and booze, there were lots of strays who showed up to partake, and the party reportedly lasted until 4 am.
A final highlight of the wedding was on a crowded car ride to the airstrip. Long time rural pilot Boyuck Ryan, celebrating his 50th year as a pilot, picked up the Angstman crew, including Ada, for the short ride. Two-year-old Ada tends to sing when riding in a car, and this time she started on one of her favorites “Wheels on the Bus.” Soon it was a duet. Joining her was Captain Ryan, who knew all the verses. It should be noted that Captain Ryan is also Grandpa Ryan, which explains the duet. Sadly, no one recorded the event. Here is a recent tribute to Boyuck from his son Lee.
ALO Case News
A new client contacted ALO in June to complain about her termination from a job in the oil industry, and during the initial interview she described how she happened to learn about ALO. She said her relative had been in a lawsuit a few years ago, and ALO was involved for the other side of that case. The relative told the new client that in a deposition, ALO ruined his case with some rugged cross examination. She was kind enough to share the name of the cousin, and the story of that person’s deposition is a good one. It was a Nome case, and was being handled by a defense firm out of Anchorage. That firm decided it would be worthwhile to bring in a Bethel guy to do the deposition, especially since the opposing counsel was a former lawyer at ALO. The Anchorage firm had done its homework. An investigator had learned a bunch of stuff about the plaintiff, who was claiming serious injury from a slip and fall at a Nome store. Among his claims was missed work from a medical trip to Anchorage, during which he wore a cervical collar for his injured neck. He claimed he was barely able to get around during that time because of his pain. But the investigation had turned up some interesting facts.
The plaintiff was asked where he stayed in Anchorage, and he gave the name of a male friend with an apartment. “Isn’t it true that you actually spent your time in Anchorage at the apartment of your girlfriend?” The witness, a married man, knew he was toast and admitted the lie. He also admitted that during the stay, he didn’t wear his cervical collar. Finally, he admitted that despite his supposed serious injuries, he was able to engage in sex with his girlfriend several times during his stay. All of that had been confirmed by an investigator before the deposition, of course. Needless to say, the case was seriously compromised, and it disappeared shortly after the deposition. But despite all of that, the plaintiff suggested his cousin hire ALO. He must be a good sport.
ALO settled two cases in June, one involving an altercation during a village corporation meeting in a community near Nome. It seems an argument broke out at regular meeting of the board, and the chairman of the board landed a blow on the company’s general manager. That case settled for a modest amount, and the chairman also resigned. The other settlement involved a female passenger who was groped twice by a pilot while exiting two different commercial flights to Bethel area villages.
Father's Day Memory
Father’s Day falls in June, and a story about Dad came to mind that bears repeating. Dad grew up on a farm and attended only four years of school so he had little chance to learn about things beyond Minnesota. Later in life, hunting trips to Montana and Wyoming allowed him to see new country for the first time. On one deer hunting trip to the Black Hills area of eastern Wyoming, the first day's hunt started before dawn in a hilly area on the fringes of the Black Hills. Dad was walking nearby shortly after dawn and came out of the woods on the top of a small hill. There in the distance was a natural feature well known to most, but new to him. “What the hell is that?” he asked. “That’s Devil’s Tower" was the answer. "How in hell did it get there?” That question was harder to answer.
Dan Boyette Story
The recent retirement of old friend Dan Boyette brings to mind a favorite story from the early days of his time in Bethel. Dan and a partner owned a rental apartment in the Alligator Acres area of Bethel, near his home. One summer when Dan was visiting his family in New Jersey, word got out that the enterprising cab drivers who were renting his apartment had installed a prostitute in the apartment and were bringing customers there on a regular basis. In that era, Bethel had a telegraph office, mainly for the rapid ordering of booze from Anchorage, so it was decided an emergency telegram to Dan was a good plan. Of course, telegrams were priced by the word and thus were known for their economy of words. This one read “Hooker in rental. Neighbors irate. Please advise.” As luck would have it, the telegram was delivered to Dan at the dinner table with several family members present. He sent a response, which was short, colorful and not suitable for posting, and his mother Betty, always a good sport, had a good laugh.
An effort to clean out a number of buildings at the Dog Farm in advance of a house sale soon to happen has resulted in a number of sale items being posted on Facebook. That process usually results in a buyer showing up within minutes, but one posting caused several guffaws. It was a vintage baggage cart from the Bethel airport that made its way to the Dog Farm many years ago as a novelty yard ornament. Despite suggestions that no one would be fool enough to take the cart away, neighbor Eric Whitney came by and towed the cart home, saying he intended to replace the wood planks and use the cart to move stuff around his yard. Here he is proudly driving off with his find. Note the steel wheels.
Mandatory Moose & Whale
Here are two Mandatory Moose for June, and they couldn’t be cuter.
The other Alaska critter for June is a whale, and you can’t really blame this guy for getting a little worked up.
While there is no photo proof, a kayak trip with Andy in Southeast Alaska produced a similar close encounter with a whale a few years ago. It was serious pucker time.
There are three cartoons this month, including one from old standby LaMont Albertson,
one that celebrates artist M.C Escher, and a real smart dinosaur.
Here is a picture of the Princeton High School baseball team from 1907, with two Angstman uncles on the team. (far right, Jess in back row, Al in second row)
Uncle Jess claimed he and brother Al lived in a shack in Princeton during high school, located near the railroad yard, and large rats shared their quarters with them. He also reported drifts of snow a foot deep inside the shack after blizzards. Both uncles survived their high school days to become Montana lawyers of some note, including Uncle Al sitting on the Supreme Court for many years. The highlight of that tenure was the time Uncle Jess argued a case in front of the Supreme Court and Uncle Al took part in the case as a voting Justice. Just to prove he could be fair, he voted against his brother’s case, which must have made for an interesting family gathering at Thanksgiving.
A former Princeton woman Krissie Mason is an outdoor writer and video producer. She visited the Alaska lake where the Angstman cabin is located a while back with a guide and posted this video of her trip up the Allen River which is 5 miles from the cabin. It’s a thrilling ride and it leads to some good grayling fishing.
COVID-19 is still in the news. There have been 4 million reported deaths worldwide and there are many hot spots that remain including in the US. New variants that are more contagious have showed up, and resistance to getting vaccinated is responsible for many outbreaks even in places where new cases had diminished. In the US, more than 99 percent of recent deaths have been among unvaccinated people which is a stunning fact. For many reasons, mostly political, folks are opting against getting vaccinated, and it leads to death for some of them. Its a strange form of Russian Roulette. The elevation of politics over science is one of the most troubling developments of recent history. It does not bode well for the future.